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Colleges in the United States are under threat from climate change
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Colleges in the United States are under threat from climate change

Flooding Climate Change Rice University


Many colleges and universities from coast to coast are taking a closer look at sustainability on campus. They are cutting down on their carbon emissions, rethinking purchases, and recycling. However, institutions are less likely to prepare for the impacts of climate change. These climate impacts are not reversible. We asked students across the country to share their experiences with climate change.

Twenty-one months. After 21 monthsBecause of our tireless organizing, Princeton University continues its investment in and partnership with the fossil fuel sector. Despite all this, Princeton University continues to invest in and partner with the fossil fuel industry. over 2,560 Princeton affiliates’ pledging not to donate until divestment happens, the university has done little for the climate beyond create committees that will consider Princeton’s divestment—eventually.

Princeton is known for its leadership in climate change. In 2019, the university releasedA Sustainability Action plan, which sets out the goals for a net-zero campus in 2046. Although these sentiments are admirable they are not a strong statement of leadership on climate change. As internationally renowned climate scientists, the Climate Crisis Advisory GroupAccording to August’s argument, net-zero emissions by the mid-century mark will not be sufficient. Net-zero by 2046 would be too little, too late.

At the same time, Princeton’s campus finds itself facing frequent flash floods, and even a tornado tied to Tropical Storm Ida—all associated with climate change. This is not the front line of climate change in Central New Jersey. Many Princeton students are facing far more severe effects of climate change at home. This can have a real psychological toll.

Young people, like me, are confronted with the reality of how late it may be to fix the mess we’ve inherited. Though our lack of life experience is often used by the Princeton administration as a reason to dismiss the merits of our work, the failure of world “leaders” to lead on climate leaves us fighting for our lives. Although this reality can be overwhelming, many people find it to be the reason they organize.

While decarbonizing campus might take decades, Princeton has the chance to make a difference quickly, end ties and create real change. We don’t need any more committee to “review” our divestment proposal. We simply cannot afford to wait for 21 months. Otherwise, we could end up underwater.

Hannah Reynolds,


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